“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful”
– Mae West
Welcome to 2014 and a New Year with wide-open vistas of potential and possibility!
A New Year — crooking its finger and summoning you to begin a new chapter of creativity, Love and brilliant acts of self-expression!
One of the best ways to open to potential and begin to see the possibilities that exist around you is to master the art of Appreciation.
What does it look like to actually master the art of Appreciation and reap the benefits that that are promised? How does living with a mindset of Appreciation really become a way of life? And what’s the real benefit of making the effort, anyway?
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Many long-term studies support the effectiveness of appreciation practice, suggesting that a positive, appreciative attitude contributes to a higher sense of health and well being, greater success in work, achieving peak performance in sports and business, and a faster rate of recovery from surgery.
But though we may acknowledge the many benefits of practicing appreciation, it seems difficult to sustain. We are much better trained to notice what is broken – what’s come undone – and what is lacking in our lives. The last thing we think to do is to appreciate the circumstances we do not want!
In our work in the coaching paradigm we turn away from a compulsive focus on problems and problem solving and toward an acknowledgement of what is and building on the intent of what is desired.
That means that even if there is breakdown and it feels like chaos, spending a few moments in the perspective of “everything is working out for me”, and “there is no good or bad” can be a very worthwhile thing to do when it comes to shifting the outcome of events.
In today’s world of changing consciousness, these are not radical concepts. The difficulty lies in the discipline to practice a focus on “what is working” and “what is wanted” and what is here to be appreciated”.
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“Everything that happens to you happens to your advantage.”
The act of Appreciation meets its full potential in our lives when it becomes more than just words. Developing a new habit such as learning how to look at things in new ways is going to require time and repetition.
When you practice Appreciation you practice being in the flow of receiving what you have, rather than complaining about what you lack. You also give yourself another opportunity to see all Life as sacred, filled with infinite value and vast opportunity.
This is not a blind, callow, eagerly optimistic approach in which life’s “bad” things are whitewashed or ignored.
It is about training yourself in the power of attention focused on that which makes you greater, more empowered, more resilient, and less of victim of circumstance. Practicing Appreciation does all that….plus it makes you feel good about your life and the people in it.
Every day is filled with many opportunities to seek out treasures small and large that fill you up with feelings of Love and Appreciation: Sunsets and sunrises; Cool evening breezes after the heat of the day; The warmth and comfort of a cozy bed; A healthy body; Friends who listen and really care; Chocolate; The aroma of freshly cut tomatoes; Birdsong; Butterflies; Your favorite slippers.
The list is endless so make it yours.
How to Practice Appreciation Throughout 2014
Keep an Appreciation Journal in which you list things for which you treasure and value. You can make daily, weekly or monthly lists. Greater frequency will be better for creating a new appreciation habit, but just keeping the journal where you can see it will remind you to think in new ways.
- Make an Appreciation Collage about yourself by drawing or pasting pictures and adding poems or quotes.
- Write yourself Love letters of appreciation and mail them to yourself.
- Make a game of finding the hidden treasures in challenging situations.
- When you feel like complaining, make an appreciation list instead. You will be amazed by how much better you will feel.
As you practice, an inner shift will occur. You’ll be delighted to discover how alive, content and ready for what lies ahead you will begin to feel.